back to article BOFH: The case of the suspicious red icon

So I'm in the office by myself while the PFY is out doing... something... I guess... when one of our atypical difficult users comes in. "Just one question," he starts, interrupting the thought I started when he walked in on potential loopholes in the gun laws. "My browser has an icon which is red." "What's the icon?" I ask, …

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Pint

1b just called

Yes, our #1 1b called during my reading of the BOFH, fortunately, he wanted to speak to someone else! Whew!

Time for a pint

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Pint

Urgent job queue...

Awesome stuff, I need one of those as well...

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Re: Urgent job queue...

I find a screenshot set to wallpaper works perfectly well. Make sure the text is small enough (which makes it look more impressive anyway) and no-one's any the wiser.

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Re: Urgent job queue...

Many many years ago on Windows for workgroups I installed a screensaver that looked like a virus attack on the head of accounts pc.

then got a call and completely forgot abou the 'joke' and ended up having an 'extended' lunch at the pub. I came back to what can only be described as a riot where accounts were rushing around backing up everything and unplugging machines.

I casually wondered up to said pc and wiggled the mouse, and when into the server room and locked the door for the rest of the day.

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Window?

I always imagined mission control being in the basement so a window high enough to have an accident seems unlikely?

Perhaps this is the result of long experience of BOFHs accumulating in basements and slowly poisoning everyone... or is that Radon?

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Happy

Re: Window?

But it's dark and stuffy in a basement. One quick copy 'n paste production of a flood risk assessment and a nice view is yours to be had.

Of course that does mean any large kit has to be installed by crane through a window, but this is a fantastic way of disposing of anyone (or their car) you've taken a dislike to, via the simple means of "adjusting" the lifting straps on the kit concerned.

Bonus is that any kit you didn't really want, but the boss thought was a Good Thing, is unlikely to work once dropped a couple of storeys onto a user (or their car).

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Coat

Re: Window?

Oh, I don't know about that. The few times that I've pushed a (l)user out of our faux window, which is painted onto the reinforced concrete wall of the basement, it has been quite effective. It does mean that I have to push a little harder, though.

Dave

P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with the (saturated) Radon detector in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Window?

Oh, I don't know about that. The few times that I've pushed a (l)user out of our faux window, which is painted onto the reinforced concrete wall of the basement, it has been quite effective. It does mean that I have to push a little harder, though.

Just don't paint a tunnel, or you'll have steam locomotives all over the basement!

Found that out the hard way.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Window?

"Found that out the hard way."

That cracked me up! ..... still sniggering now ... and thinking of surreal places i can use it....

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Re: Window?

@TeeCee

Of course, getting large kit through a window is easier if you have it altered to have quite a low sill; mind where you stand...

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Re: Window?

Just don't paint a tunnel, or you'll have steam locomotives all over the basement!

Found that out the hard way.

I tried that once. Didn't get locomotives but a road-runner and a coyote. What did I do wrong?

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Coat

Re: Window?

" Didn't get locomotives but a road-runner and a coyote. What did I do wrong?"

You probably used Acme paint.

The one with the anvil and dynamite in the pocket ------------>

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Re: Window?

Acme now has an online catalog. You can purchase this and many other useful office supplies here:

http://acme.com/catalog/acme.html

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Re: Window?

http://acme.com/catalog/acme.html can't be the real Acme. They don't sell portable roll-up holes, paint on tunnels entrances or white line paint.

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Re: Window?

What and leave the prime office space to a fishbowling centre? I think not :)

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Coat

suspicious red icons

....... when corporate colours are all red.......

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Re: suspicious red icons

Can't See Colors?

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Time to code a Ticket/Job Queue System for myself...

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Alert

Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

Didn't have too many 1b's. Our helldesk software tracked all types of calls so that persistent non-sense callers would be sent to IT training.

2b's. Ugh. What a nightmare. You can't win with them. Since they are smarter than you regarding their tech problem the only way to get rid of them is stroking their ego/straight out lying. It was here that I developed those fundamental skills that would eventually lead to Project Management.

GASP! There's a suspicious yellow icon top right of my message! Must be a virus!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

I remember the only complaint raised against me and upheld was thanks to a 2b, he had dragged the slider on an Office document so half his page was white space and was adamant that it was a monitor fault. He wouldn't let me touch the keyboard or mouse as he "knows" what the problem is, and he isn't that stupid that he would drag the slider without realising. I even pointed out the little dotted line being exactly where the text was starting from, but it was all for naught, I told him that if he refuses to give me access to the mouse and insists that it is a monitor fault, then I can't help him.

Sadly he was sufficiently high enough up the managerial chain that when he raised a complaint, nobody challenged it.

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Happy

Re: Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

"Ah yes, you clearly need a new monitor ... Just go to the monitors control panel for me to to confirm the resolution and refresh rate. ... It's okay, just minimise Word while you do it ... Oh look, the problem seems to have fixed itself."

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Re: Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

"persistent non-sense callers would be sent to IT training"

Given sufficient training budget they can be sent on end-to-end courses so they never come back to work.

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Re: Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

"Oh look, the problem seems to have fixed itself."

This is an example of why psychology, far from being junk science, is vital to rising through the helpdesk hierarchy.

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Creating monsters

"...persistent non-sense callers would be sent to IT training...."

Unless the training room was on a high floor (30th or higher for preference) with faulty fenestration or a hermetically sealed basement room, we have a problem.

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Re: Ahh the horrible days of desktop support

I told him that if he refuses to give me access to the mouse and insists that it is a monitor fault, then I can't help him.

Pity you didn't happen to have some old crappy low-res CRT still gathering dust in the cupboard you could've given him since he so insisted.

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M7S

"hobby discussion board"

Really? I'd imagined the BOFH would have a more extreme means of dealing with that type of thing

Paragraph 4

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/10/nominet_review_of_registration_policy_dot_uk_domain_names/

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Brilliant line.

"...the internet has been running a bit slowly recently."

"Did you call Vint Cerf?"

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Re: Brilliant line.

Vint Cerf line made me spit coffee

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Re: Brilliant line.

He should have called Jon Postel.

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Re: Brilliant line.

He couldn't do that until after he's stepped out of the window.

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Re: Brilliant line.

That's probably the only way to improve this episode. "Say 'Hi' to John Postel when you see him."

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And maybe a different type or just a version of 1b

When I was doing our service IT support I used to have a user who came to my desk at least a couple of times a month in a panic to "warn" me about some supposed virus she'd read about on Twitface or somewhere. If we even saw it, it would wipe all our hardrives, set our desks on fire and bring about the end of civilisation as we know it.

And when I didn't run round the room shouting "Don't Panic" while dialling 999 and possibly carrying in a fire extinguisher she'd go off in a strop and sulk for the rest of the day.

Worse ( or not?) if I wasn't there she'd be running around "warning" all the other staff or getting someone to phone Corporate IT and demand instant action to protect us from this scourge.

I kept Snopes and Hoax slayer icons on my desktop.....

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Re: And maybe a different type or just a version of 1b

There's also 1c.

Back in the days when more PCs were sold through magazines than through websites, I had a conscientious but indecisive user who decided to buy himself a new laptop (for personal use) and kept dropping by to ask me about this or that hardware option which he'd read about. Ever been expected to provide a disquisition on L2 caches at the drop of a hat? It took him ten months to decide what to buy, by which time a new Intel CPU range had come out and the entire sodding process started all over again.

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Pint

Clock virus

I think my machine must be infected too - it's insisting there's 3 more hours until beer o'clock. That can't be right, can it?

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Re: Clock virus

Only way to be sure is to drop by the bar...

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Anonymous Coward

1bs

The bane of my life; those who seem to have no intuition at all, are entirely devoid of clue, are so risk-adverse that it is scary, need their hand holding for everything.

I had one this morning:

"How do I print my file?", "Select File, then Print".

"That brings up a list with just HP LaserJet in it, only has Okay and Cancel buttons. If I click Cancel it does not print anything. What should I do?".

It is sometimes hard to believe it is not deliberate trolling or some sort of assessment test.

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Trollface

Re: 1bs

Ah yes, the kind of user who could fail an IQ test...

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Facepalm

Re: 1bs

I kid you not, I once had a new, mid-30s and supposedly experienced user raise an urgent call. I got to his desk quickly where he sat with MS Word open and one line of text (at about 48pt) with the cursor at blinking away the end.

He leaned towards me and in a perplexed voice said, "I've spent about 15 minutes trying everything and nothing works. How do I start writing the next line??"

I leaned over, hit Enter and walked off without a word. If it hadn't happened to me I wouldn't have believed it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1bs

... due to negative IQ

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Re: 1bs

"It is sometimes hard to believe it is not deliberate trolling or some sort of assessment test."

These are the 1a - the ones who know they know nothing and are certain that they will never know anything because "they dont know about computers" , they havent considered that its possible to learn even small things because its all "for computer whizzes"

These specimens are usually found in finance departments sitting next to 20 year old tractor feed printers .

They will be clicking and pressing on things in a very precise order - they have no idea whats happening. They've just been trained , like a performing seal , to press that , then that ,then that ,then that ,then that .

God knows why they havent been replaced with a script or a macro.

The problem comes when something needs to change - then all holy hell breaks loose.

You try to remedy the problem of "nobody getting paid this week" by saying "Look - instead of clicking on that,then that ,then that ,then that ,then that ,then that , like you used to , Just press THIS - its ten times quicker than that fucking retarded way you were doing it, which had 9 completely pointless steps , and is not possible anymore because (antiquated hardware) just broke.

then you get "but ... but ... that cant be right because we've always clicked this, and this ,this, and this this, and this ?"

" yes i know , but now just do THIS"

but we've always done ..... and .... and ...

rinse

repeat

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Facepalm

Re: 1bs

How about the users who know they don't know something and are prepared to ask... but they think they have a photographic memory so don't take notes, and end up asking the same question again a week or two later, and yet again another two weeks later. There's no point adding pages to the support FAQ list because these users always forget that exists! One user still didn't take the hint when I just kept forwarding an email to him containing all previous answers to his question.

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Re: 1bs

These specimens are usually found in finance departments sitting next to 20 year old tractor feed printers .

No they are called teachers, they seem to mostly infect English, History & Home Economics faculties

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Re: 1bs

"1bs"

You do realize that back in the days of Courier and maybe san serif, people would be asking, "lbs? Do you mean avoir dupois, Imperial or Sterling?"

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Re: 1bs

"Hello, Tech Support. Your ignorance is my job security!"

I have used that line on a few, select customers. They laughed.

I had one 1a, in particular, just happy to have me figure out the fault, even though it was something they did. Before I hung up, I explained the PEBKAC error. Next time they called me, they started with, "Sorry to call you, I've had another PEBKAC." :D

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You gotta love the 2bs they are sooo intelligent and know so much about everything. So much so they ring IT. Hmmmm....

What about the 4a?

4a

A person who is so full of his or her self importance that every single IT issue they have is urgent and must be looked at first. Forget about everybody else, they are just not as important as these people.

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Joke

<quote>What about the 4a?

4a

A person who is so full of his or her self importance that every single IT issue they have is urgent and must be looked at first. Forget about everybody else, they are just not as important as these people.</quote>

Do you mean senile manglement???

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Mushroom

The worst 2B I've dealt with insisted that the software my company makes was making his tablet crash. We suggested it might turning itself off because the battery was low. He insisted that the battery was fine. After wasting half an hour talking on the phone, I told him bluntly that he should contact tech support from the company that makes his tablet. The next day my boss got an e-mail saying that it was due to a low battery.

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Anonymous Coward

Aren't all users 4a????

I work in a hospital, and have been told that the MOST IMPORTANT COMPUTER IN THE WHOLE HOSPITAL, the one that I have to drop everything to fix straight away is......

.... the one in the restaurant that controls the tills.

This was told to me by the restaurant manager. Yeah, right. I'm off back to A&E now to work on their printer.

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@adam payne

Yeah, in the dim and distant past (before I embarked on a career as a bit-bender), I had one of those. Her shiny new, just delivered, computer wouldn’t turn on. Lifeless. Nothing. And it had worked perfectly in our lab, before delivery, when I set it up for her. I went through the usual questions, including ‘did the packaging seem damaged in any way’ before a tiny nugget of suspicion caused me to query whether she’d plugged it in. I mean, it did seem odd that the monitor wouldn’t power up either.

She hit the bloody roof. How dare I patronise her! Didn’t I realise how much she spent on a support contract? I’d better get over there now and fix it. My boss, the spineless wimp, agreed - despite the significant problem that I was in Birmingham and she was in Bridgwater, and that all the other support guys were either out on a job, sick, or skiving.

So I drove to Bridgwater and discovered that she was quite right. She had plugged the computer in. And the monitor. And the printer. All plugged in to a multiway extension cable. Which was also plugged in. To itself. I left. Cursing. And embarked on a career as a programmer - which is mostly more satisfying, and keeps me away from the lusers. Oh, and I can happily code while drunk (although not when pissed out of my skull). Which is a bonus.

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Pint

The tip

It is located below the window, amirite?

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